The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over whether Republican state legislators are entitled to intervene to defend North Carolina’s voter identification law in court because the GOP lawmakers claim that their state’s Democratic attorney general is not properly defending it from legal challenges brought by the NAACP and other groups who contend it violates the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
Oral arguments for the case are expected to take place sometime next year, with a ruling likely by July.
The justices on Wednesday granted a request from the Republican legislators to take up a federal appeals court ruling that went against them, Politico reported.
The disagreement is similar to several other cases that have reached the Supreme Court in recent years where litigants claimed that state officials were not doing enough to defend a statute or had conceded that it was unconstitutional.
The justices will not consider the validity of the underlying voter ID law, which was passed in 2018 by the North Carolina legislature after voters chose to amend the state’s constitution in a referendum to require identification with voting.
Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, explained to CNN that “this case is really about who gets to defend the law. This is a fairly common pattern of disputes that we’re seeing now in states where the executive branch is controlled by Democrats and the legislative branch is controlled by Republicans.”
He continued that this creates a situation where “you have a Democratic attorney general, a Democratic governor who want to take one position on the state’s vote ID law and a state legislature that wants to take another, and the question is really: Who gets to defend the law?”